United Kingdom hit a specific and limited set of targets in Syria: May

A missile over Damascus on Friday night                  SANA  Handout via REUTERS

DUP MP Nigel Doods, reacting to the air strikes, said: "First and foremost we salute the courage of our courageous servicemen and women".

Four British fighter jets struck a military base near Homs where Britain said Syrian government forces were holding chemical weapon components.

"I hope that this will be a deterrent to him and obviously I hope that it will mean no further humanitarian suffering by the Syrian people as a result of the use of chemical weapons", said UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

He also did not rule out further attacks against Syria if the Assad regime continued the alleged use of chemical weapons. "It is not about regime change", May said in a statement.

The joint attack by the United States, Britain, and France, which began at 3:55 a.m. local time (0055 GMT), launched some 110 missiles targeting Syrian military sites in the Syrian capital Damascus and elsewhere, Syria's state news agency SANA said, citing the military.

The opposition leader questioned the prime minister's statement that the Syria attack is "right and legal".

May said the strikes would "send a clear signal to anyone else who believes they can use chemical weapons with impunity".

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Friday's strikes appear to signal Trump's willingness to draw the United States more deeply into the Syrian conflict. Russia's US embassy released a statement warning that the airstrikes would "not be left without consequences".

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Britain has blamed Russian Federation for the poisoning - a charge vehemently denied by Moscow which has accused London of failing to come up with evidence for its claims.

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had said Britain should press for an independent United Nations -led investigation into the suspected chemical attack in Douma rather than wait for instructions from Trump on how to proceed.

May is not obliged to win parliament's approval before ordering military action, but a non-binding constitutional convention to do so has been established since a 2003 vote on joining the USA -led invasion of Iraq.

Former Prime Minister David Cameron lost a parliamentary vote on air strikes against Assad's forces in 2013 when 30 Conservative lawmakers voted against action, with many Britons wary of entering another conflict after intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya failed to bring stability to the region.

She said that at an emergency cabinet meeting in London on Thursday "we agreed that it was both right and legal to take military action" after hearing legal advice.

"Our service personnel have played an important role in terms of degrading the ability of the Syrian regime to use chemical weapons in the future", Williamson said. "The opposition does not operate helicopters or use barrel bombs".

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